Identification of venous variants in the pineal region with 3D preoperative computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging navigation. A statistical study of venous anatomy in living patients

J Neurosurg. 2007 Jun;106(6):1006-11. doi: 10.3171/jns.2007.106.6.1006.


Object: The purpose of this study was to determine the ability of software-assisted 3D reconstruction performed using a neuronavigation system to delineate the anatomy and variation patterns of the pineal region venous complex, and then to compare these data with previous anatomical findings.

Methods: The authors retrospectively reviewed the neuroimages obtained in 100 patients with intracranial lesions (50 computed tomography [CT] scans obtained with contrast agents and 50 magnetic resonance [MR] images obtained with gadolinium) by using a neuronavigation workstation for 3D reconstruction. Particular attention was given to the internal cerebral vein, basal vein (BV), and the vein of Galen. The various connection patterns between the major vessels were classified and statistically analyzed.

Conclusions: The venous system of the pineal region shows a wide range of sex-related variations. In the female patient the absence of a BV (Type 0) is significantly more frequent than in the male. In this study the authors illustrate the ability to depict the venous drainage patterns in the pineal region for all cases studied by using 3D neuronavigation software without the need for additional examinations. This simple tool provides important information for surgical planning and may be of significant help intraoperatively.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cerebral Veins / abnormalities
  • Cerebral Veins / anatomy & histology*
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pineal Gland / blood supply*
  • Preoperative Care
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Software
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed